Under current contracts running through 2019, the PGA Championship is televised in the United States by CBS—which holds rights to afternoon coverage of the weekend rounds, and TNT—which holds rights to broadcast early-round and weekend morning coverage. ABC had historically broadcast the tournament until 1991 when it moved to its current home of CBS.
Frank Chirkinian was known as the 'father of televised golf' for the impact he had on golf broadcasting. He came to the attention of CBS after he impressed with his direction of the 1958 PGA Championship. Recruited by the network, who had no one with expertise in the relatively new field of golf broadcasting, he went on to be executive producer of CBS's golf coverage from 1959 to 1996. During his time at CBS, he was nicknamed "The Ayatollah" for his brusque, uncompromising approach to directing broadcasts.
ABC broadcast golf events for the first time in 1962 when it began televising the Open Championship as part of its anthology series Wide World of Sports. The network later gained the broadcast rights to the PGA Championship in 1965, and the U.S. Open in 1966. Chris Schenkel and Byron Nelson were the initial hosts of the tournament coverage. In 1975, Jim McKay and Dave Marr became the lead broadcast team, while Bob Rosburg joined the network as the first ever on-course reporter, and Peter Alliss joined as a co-anchor.
Beginning in 1982, ABC adopted its most well-known format of the Wide World of Sports era. The broadcast operated using anchor teams, in which an anchor and an analyst would call all of the action from the tower at the 18th hole, and the teams would be rotated on coverage after about a half-hour. Meanwhile, the three on-course reporters, which included Judy Rankin and Ed Sneed in addition to Rosburg, would be utilized when prompted by the anchor team. McKay and Marr would be the lead team, with Jack Whitaker and Alliss as the second team. Occasionally, Rosburg or Whitaker would host if McKay was unavailable, while Roger Twibell would take over the secondary team. After his 1986 Masters win, Jack Nicklaus would appear on ABC after the end of his round and served as an analyst for the rest of the telecast.
In 1990, Roger Twibell took over as lead anchor, with Dave Marr as his analyst. Peter Alliss became sole anchor of the second anchor team. During this period, ABC acquired the rights to several non-major PGA Tour events, mostly important events such as The Memorial Tournament and The Tour Championship. 1990 would also mark the final PGA Championship to be broadcast by ABC.
In 1982, ESPN provided the first cable television coverage of the PGA Championship with three hours on both Thursday and Friday. While there was no cable coverage of the first two rounds in 1984, ESPN returned for weekday coverage the following year and expanded to three and a half hours each day. And then in 1986, ESPN increased their weekday coverage to four hours.
Currently, TNT has the cable rights to the PGA Championship (with full coverage of the first two rounds and early coverage of the weekend rounds since 1999 after being on sister channel TBS since 1991) under a contract with the PGA of America that runs through 2019.
When TBS took over the cable package for the PGA Championship in 1991, they increased the weekday coverage to 6 hours per day. TBS also added 2 hours of Saturday and Sunday coverage. Because inclement weather stopped play during the third round of 2012 PGA Championship on Saturday, TNT added coverage starting at 8 a.m ET on Sunday.
For the 1991 PGA Championship, Bob Neal and Bobby Clampett anchored the TBS coverage. TBS also used golf instructor David Leadbetter, former LPGA player Donna Caponi, and NFL analyst Pat Haden for the 1991 PGA Championship coverage. For the 1992 PGA Championship, TBS installed Leadbetter as its lead analyst. Gary Bender and MLB analyst Don Sutton were also part of the TBS crew.
Beginning with the 1995 PGA Championship, Ernie Johnson, Jr. became the primary golf anchor for Turner. During the 2006 PGA Championship, Verne Lundquist filled in on TNT for Johnson, who was undergoing chemotherapy. During TNT's Sunday coverage of the 2011 PGA Championship, Lundquist once again stepped in for Johnson after Johnson's father died. On both occasions, Lundquist was already on-site as a tower announcer for CBS's coverage.
Dave Marr served as the lead analyst for TBS during their 1995 PGA Championship coverage. By the 1996 PGA Championship, Bobby Clampett once again assumed the lead Turner analyst role. Also for the 1996 PGA Championship, former LPGA player Mary Bryan moved over from CBS to join the TBS team.
|Ernie Johnson, Jr.||1995-2005; 2007-2010; 2012-present||TBS
|Verne Lundquist||2006; 2011||TNT|
|Jim McKay||1958-1960; 1965-1987; 1989||CBS
|Bobby Clampett||1991; 1996-2007||TBS
August 2000 Tiger Woods outduels Bob May in the first three-hole playoff in PGA Championship history, seen by an estimated 38.5 million total viewers, the largest audience ever for a PGA Championship.
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